Lie Detection 101 – How to Spot Lies During the Interview Process - American Society of Employers - Heather Nezich

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Lie Detection 101 – How to Spot Lies During the Interview Process

Wouldn’t it be great if you could use a lie detector on all job candidates? Well, we live in the real world, where that's not acceptable or viable. So how do you tell when a job candidate is lying?

Your own instincts and a bit of observation can help you uncover all the little white lies, or sometimes, big lies during the interview process.

Everybody bends the truth a bit. Most people lie in everyday conversation when they are trying to appear likable and competent, according to a study conducted by University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert S. Feldman. Job interviews aren't exempt from this fib-fest.

Here are some ways to identify a lie:

1. Establish a Baseline: To initiate an interview, consider selecting a topic that encourages candid responses from the candidate. Opt for questions like, "Can you recall the first football match you attended?" or "Do you remember how old you were when you first mastered riding a bike?" These inquiries should prompt genuine reminiscences rather than rehearsed answers, fostering an environment where the likelihood of falsehood is reduced.

As the candidate responds, pay close attention to their nonverbal cues, including eye movements, shifts in body posture, and even alterations in breathing patterns. These subtle behavioral nuances can offer valuable insights into the authenticity of their responses.

Each individual's reactions will vary, thus establishing a baseline for their typical behavior during the interview is crucial. By noting their customary mannerisms and responses to innocuous questions, you can better detect any deviations or inconsistencies that may arise later in the conversation.

2. Eyes Tell All: Now that you’ve established a baseline, watch for dodgy eye movements, especially when they're recalling stuff. What you should be looking for is a deviation from the norm with their eye movement to help identify a lie. So, using your established baseline above, if there is abnormal eye movement (compared to previous patterns) it could alert you to a potential lie.

3. Voice Wobbles: No, they won't sound like cartoon villains. But pay attention if their voice suddenly goes haywire - pitching up, slowing down, or sounding like they're reading Shakespeare. It could be their brain's way of scrambling to cook up a fib.

4. Fidget Frenzy: Keep an eye out for restless behavior - shifting in their seat, drumming fingers, or suddenly turning into a statue. If they freeze up like a deer in headlights, something's fishy.

5. Body Cover-up: Something as simple as a little self-hug or throat-grabbing might signal they're trying to shield themselves from the truth. Face-touching is a classic lying response. Typically, candidates do it when asked sales figures for example, or how often they won 'Performer of the Month'. If you see it, probe deeper and ask more questions.

6. TMI Alert: When they start rambling like there's no tomorrow, and you're left scratching your head, chances are they're trying to throw you off track. Be careful though, this could simply be a sign of job interview nerves as well.

7. Third-Person Twist: If the person being interviewed begins speaking in short, incomplete sentences, omitting pronouns like 'Me', 'My', and 'I', or even resorts to speaking in the third person, it's a clear sign that they may be having difficulty telling the truth.

8. Microexpressions: Even the most skilled deceiver will inadvertently reveal themselves, under careful observation. Microexpressions can be as fleeting as 1/25th of a second. Microexpressions offer the most reliable means of consistently detecting deception but mastering them is exceedingly difficult and may exceed the requirements of a typical job interview. Although law enforcement has found microexpressions valuable during interrogations, and it might be prudent for a CEO position to enlist the aid of a consultant to observe such cues, in many job interview scenarios, microexpressions could simply serve to complicate matters.

9. Trust Your Gut: Sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts. If they're setting off alarm bells in your head, don't ignore them. If something doesn't sound or look right, rely on your gut instinct and question it further.

This list provides valuable tools for recognizing signs of deception, empowering you to delve deeper into a topic and make well-informed decisions before hiring an individual.

Identifying truthfulness isn't simple, an anxious or nervous individual may be mistaken for a liar, but with practice and awareness of key indicators, your proficiency will increase, leading to better hiring outcomes.




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